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Weddings, Elections, Swastikas and Bird Flips: 50 Defining Musical Images of 2012
Nobody buries time capsules anymore—they just upload a folder of photos somewhere and hope that the internet is still around a couple generations or two from now. (Burying stuff is hard work anyway, and there's never a good capsule store around when you need one.) With that in mind, here's our version of a 2012 photo capsule, 50 images so instantly familiar that they need little to no explanation as to why 2012 just wouldn't have been 2012 had they not been so photographically captured. Whenever you're feeling bummed about the future, flip through these pics with our Year-End Spotify Playlist going in the background, and experience the wonder of the final year of the Mayan calendar all over again. (And if the two Taylor Swift-related pics weren't enough, we got you covered there, too.)
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2 Chainz and Chris Brown
2 Chainz with Aqua Breezy at the MTV Video Music Awards.
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A$AP Rocky and Rihanna
"You sure you're cool with me...?" "For the last time, yes. And really GRAB the damn thing, will you? Do you want to be a trending topic or not?"
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R.I.P. MCA. We're still slamming our heads with a sneaker in tribute.
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The big winner at the 2012 Grammys tends to her flock.
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Just DJing from a bust of a gigantic head, no big deal. How do you play music for your friends?
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Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger
2012: The year "Chavril" became a thing.
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Take that, Mitches.
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Beyonce and Blue Ivy Carter
One day, little Blue Ivy, everything that the light touches will be yours...
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Britney Spears & Demi Lovato
It's all smiles amidst the X Factor cast until the first boy-band-related disagreement.
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Carly Rae Jepsen
Save that phone number for the next hott (and hopefully heterosexual) neighbor guy, Carly Rae.
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Cee Lo Green
The breakout star of Season Two of The Voice was not any of the judges, but Cee Lo's feline companion Purrfect the Cat, who still has over 63,000 Twitter followers.
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David Guetta and Usher
When Guetta and Usher take over / YEAHHHHHHHH
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Mazel Tov, Drizzy, but what's taking you so long with our damn thank you note?
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Ellie Goulding and Skrillex
The first power couple of EDM won't be making it to 2013, sadly.
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Flo Rida and Carly Rae Jepsen
Semi-anonymous pop stars gotta stick together.
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The big 2012 revelation that also gave us '90s Mac flashbacks.
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Don't pretend like there's actually a guitar line to be playing in "We Are Young," Jack Antonoff. Even in slow motion.
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It is the weeping and the moaning and the inhabiting of parking lots.
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Gotye and Kimbra
Gotye didn't have a lot of reason to make the Gotye Face in 2012.
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The Jiggaman, currently counting the days until Brook Lopez's return to the starting lineup.
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John Mayer and Katy Perry
How did John and Katy not notice the paparazzo hanging on their windshield? Are they just used to it?
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Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez
No more Phish concerts for Justin and Selena :<
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Jessica Biel makes her new hubby feel so springy sprung.
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In 2013, put the pants back on before you leave the car, Kanye.
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Nobody sneers quite like K-Money in 2012.
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Lana Del Rey
About time for a triumphant return visit to "SNL" for Lana Del Rey, we'd say.
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Weezy always knew that Barry Zito was gonna turn it around for San Francisco one of these days.
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Luda gets into the Olympic spirit with some swimmer bros. #Jeah.
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Take that, Giants and/or Patriots fans!
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Pop, politics and swastikas: Rarely, if ever, a good mixture.
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Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj
Ryan Seacrest: "How do I always end up in the middle of these things?"
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Adam Levine had to actually travel back in time to find the payphone to make his band's song appear plausible.
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2012: The year Miley Cyrus became Anna from The O.C.
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"You mad, 'coz I'm at the Grammys with the Vatican." We ain't mad, Nicki, honest.
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Crazy Directioners prove that your parents were right: Boy bands are the devil's music.
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Very generous of Paris to provide EDM its obvious Spinal Tap moment. (Every genre needs one.)
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Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez
Better luck next time, Jessica.
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Come back to Alaska anytime, Pit.
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Los Del Rio probably never got on Ellen. (Possibly because the show didn't exist yet, but still.)
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2012: The year even your grandmother knew who Pussy Riot were.
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Randy Travis: Definitely About That Life.
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How many words is a picture worth, again?
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Let she who is without sin be the first to refuse apology.
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Swedish House Mafia
New rule: You have to exist as an entity for longer than three-or-so years to play a "Farewell Tour."
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"Hey, you guys think we'll get to be in Taylor's next video too?"
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You'll always be her first love, Conor. Well, maybe not.
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Waka Flocka Flame
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If 2012 gave us nothing else, it gave us shirtless, oiled-up Wyclef on a motorbike. #Dayenu.